In South Indian tradition, starting a meal with a sweet is considered auspicious. It signifies “good beginnings”. This is one of the reasons all Indian feasts start and end with a sweet.
So Appa was visiting us for the first time after the wedding. I was super charged to make him a good lunch. I had been planning the menu for days and decided on rotis, mushroom gravy, rice, tomato rasam, curd, vadaam & pickle! Decent! Menu finalised, groceries bought and prep done. But I had this weird feeling that I was forgetting something. The menu just didn’t seem complete.
As soon as dad reached home, he handed me a cover of Godiva chocolate bars (Yay!) and a box of dry fruit laddoos. I was puzzled. Dad always brings chocolates. But dry fruit ladoo? “Amma asked me to take this because I’m visiting you here for the first time. It’s healthy.”, he quickly added. That’s when it struck me! Good lord! Where is the sweet on the menu? How did I miss it? There was no time to panic. The food was almost ready. I didn’t have any food colour at home to make kesari. To me, plain kesari without any colour looks unappetising and will put you off kesari for life! The closest to a “dessert ingredient” was a bunch of carrots in my fridge. I had made carrot halwa before. But who has the time to make khoya? Maybe I if cook this with some milk and sugar, it will taste ok, I thought. So I pressure cooked some grated carrots with ghee, milk, sugar, cardamom and the result was DELICIOUS! Added some chopped almonds towards the end for some crunch. The whole process took me only 20 minutes. Dad was surprised I could pull off a full meal all by myself, but honestly, so was I!
Not too long after that I had surprise guests for lunch and this recipe saved me again. The only thing I wanted to change about it this time was the floating ghee layer on top. So I improvised by pureeing the mixture, adding toasted almonds and powdered jaggery. This dessert is loaded with carrots, nuts and cardamom. But you can always adjust the ingredients to your liking. This recipe is very forgiving that way. Guests or no guests, you now have a quick dessert recipe which you can make in no time! 😊
2 Tbsp Melted Ghee
1 1/2 cups Grated Carrot
3 cups Milk
4 - 6 Tbsp Grated jaggery
1/4 cup Water (to adjust)
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1/2 cup Roasted Almonds
A few drops of rose water (optional)
Heat ghee in a pan.
Add grated carrots and cook for 7-10 minutes, till the raw smell goes away.
Add milk and continue to cook for 10 more minutes. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles.
OPTIONAL STEP: Let the mixture cool and puree in a blender if you want it to be creamy like mine. I did this mainly to get rid of the thin ghee layer on top.
Add water (omit water if you are not pureeing the mixture), jaggery, cardamom powder, roasted almonds, rose water and cook for 5 minutes.
Garnish with slivered almonds and serve.
TO MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace ghee with neutral flavoured oil and milk with almond milk.